Glider pilot sorry about crash into family home
DANBURY — The pilot of a glider that nose-dived into the roof of a house said he is sorry for what happened — but he isn’t sure why it happened.
In his first interview since the crash Tuesday, Tom Nejame said his 2016 Alisport Silent 2 Electro — the only one of its kind in Danbury — is new and well-maintained, but it “somehow lost power unexpectedly” when he was returning to Danbury Municipal Airport.
Nejame, 63, who owns the longtime family swimming pool supply company Nejame & Sons, said he’s sorry for the damage he caused — both to the house at 5 Golden Hill Ave. and the family that lives there.
“I’m very sorry for what happened and I’m very fanatical about being as safe as possible,” he said Thursday. “In life things
are unexpected, and I truly feel for anybody that I might have affected.”
Amanda Wirag Oliveira and her two young children were home when the glider punched through the roof of their two-story house a little before 6 p.m. Tuesday. No one was injured and Nejame climbed out of the cockpit inside the home’s attic.
Nejame took off from the Danbury airport between 10 a.m. and noon Tuesday.
He radioed the tower around 5:45 p.m., but the message was garbled and the connection then lost, said Assistant Airport Administrator Mike Safranek.
According to Mayor Mark Boughton, the pilot thought he had 20 minutes of power left and was on his final approach to the airport when the batteryoperated glider ran out of power.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, with the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration, to determine the probable cause of the accident.
FAA officials were on the scene Wednesday afternoon gathering information for the investigation — including interviewing the owners of the house, who are relatives of Oliveira.
An aircraft insurance company is covering the removal of the aircraft, Safranek said.
The glider was lifted by crane from the house Wednesday evening.
Oliveira was upset about the lack of remorse Nejame showed after the crash.
“It really upset me that he didn’t even think about us,” she said Wednesday. “He just said, ‘It can be fixed.’ He wasn’t worried about the house or my two small children who could have been killed.”
When Nejame broke his silence Thursday, he said he was relieved no one inside the home was injured.
“I imagine it was as frightening for them as it was for me,” he said. “I am also fortunate that my own injuries were not worse . ... I am very grateful to all of the first responders who tended to the family and me after this unfortunate accident.”
He said his plane was “new and well-maintained” and he looks forward to working with government officials to determine why his glider malfunctioned.
Chris Cunningham, of Colonial Air in New Bedford, Mass., secures a glider to a crane Wednesday to remove a glider from the roof of a house on Golden Hill Avenue in Danbury. The glider crashed through the roof of the house on Tuesday.
A crane from Healy Crane was brought in Wednesday to remove a 2016 Alisport Silent 2 Electro glider from the roof of a house on Golden Hill Avenue in Danbury. On Thursday, the glider’s pilot, businessman Tom Nejame, said he was sorry for crashing into the family’s home.